Myths and Realities About Separating Money in a Colorado Divorce

Filed Under (Divorce and Legal Separation) on 08-14-2012

Colorado Divorce, Divorce forms online, Colorado divorce laws

Before you formally divorce in Colorado, you need to write a divorce plan, or separation agreement, that tackles all the “stuff” you accumulated in the marriage. A separation agreement is a typed document that sets out how you and your soon-to-be ex will divide your assets and debts, take care of your children and deal with child support or maintenance.  As you start sorting through your affairs to write this agreement, or divorce plan, you may fall for common misperceptions about what’s fair, what’s yours and what you should do.

Myth: We have to divide our assets equally. That’s the law.

Reality:  Nowhere is it written in Colorado that your marital assets must be divided equally.  The word used in the statute is equitable, which means fair.

Myth: If we can’t agree on the value of our assets, we can’t agree on anything and we’ll never be able to settle.

Reality: This is not true.  You may elect to divide anything and everything without regard to monetary value.  There are many kinds of value: money is only one of them. You are only required to divide your assets equitably, or in a fair manner.

Myth: How we divide the retirement plan is up to us.

Reality: The plan administrator will need to review and approve the plan for dividing retirement assets before your court date, and this can take plenty of time. Without this approval, you will not be able to divide this asset.

Myth: Divorced people can’t go on sharing a business.

Reality: Not necessarily true.  The key to success is differentiating your relationship as spouses and your relationship as business partners.

Myth: I’m not responsible for paying that VISA bill. My husband/wife promised to pay for it in the divorce plan and the judge approved it.

Reality: Any agreement you two make about who is going to pay this debt does not affect the creditor, i.e. the credit card company. So if one of you defaults or stops paying, the lender will try to collect from the other one.  And any default will be reported to credit reporting agencies in both your names.

For more information about the steps involved in divorce or legal separation, check out the “Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado” by M. Arden Hauer, MA, JD